Breaking the Facebook Speed Limit

Author: | Filed under: Facebook, Social Media | 14 Comments »

Picture this.

You hop in your car for a business trip. You need to drive to the nearest city to meet clients. You’re on the highway, and as a good law abiding citizen, you follow the speed limit.

About 30 minutes into the drive, you noticed that the other vehicles are going considerably faster than you, thus breaking the speed limit. So you decide to join in and speed up. You’re running a bit late anyways, so it’ll be good to get to your destination a earlier.

Then, 15 minutes later you see the good ‘ole red, white, and blue lights flashing.


To make matters worse, the cop is in a bad mood, and decides to give you a hefty fine. In your head you’re thinking, “well that’s not really fair. Everyone else is going way faster than me, why didn’t he stop them”. All this because you wanted to get from point A to point B faster.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how fast the other folks were going, or if they were speeding. You broke the law or rules of the road to, so you’re in the wrong. And you’re the one they noticed.

So, what does this have to do with Facebook?

You set up a Facebook page. You notice your competitors’ page is growing considerably faster than you, because they’re running an illegal contest where users need to like or share a page, or comment on the page as entry to the contest, thus breaking the “rules of Facebook”.

So you decide to run the same kind of contest to speed up the growth of your page. You want to catch up to your competitors’ page anyways. Then, at about a 1,000 likes in, your page disappears.

Busted. You just broke the “Facebook speed limit”.

In your head you’re thinking, “well that’s not really fair, everyone else is doing it” or, “the contest rules are confusing” or “I didn’t know I wasn’t allow to do this”. Really? It’s on the “Facebook Terms” page. A quick Google search and you’ll find it.

Here are the most common rules broken.

iii. You must not condition registration or entry upon the user taking any action using any Facebook features or functionality other than liking a Page, checking in to a Place, or connecting to your app. For example, you must not condition registration or entry upon the user liking a Wall post, or commenting or uploading a photo on a Wall.

iv. You must not use Facebook features or functionality as a promotion’s registration or entry mechanism. For example, the act of liking a Page or checking in to a Place cannot automatically register or enter a promotion participant.

v. You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.

If you weren’t aware that you weren’t allowed, you shouldn’t be running a contest to begin with. Read the rules first. Facebook OWNS the highway, remember?

I realize that mistakes are made. God know I’ve made many, so I apologize if I sound frustrated, but this ANNOYS me to no end. I see numerous pages running these kinds of “contests”, completely breaking the rules.  And what is more irritating is that fact that these are reputable, wonderful brands, and they’ve probably HIRED a marketing agency or consultant to do this. And all that agency/consultant is doing is gambling with your brand and your community.

If you are going to run a promotion for your business or your client’s brand, for heaven’s sake, follow Facebook’s contest guidelines. It requires a lot less effort than trying to explain that their fan page of 10,000 members has been removed. That’s not a conversation you’ll want to have.

  • ryanjgagne

    Really great article. Well put, so hard to explain this to people. I usually just unlike pages that run these kinds of contests.

    • Dave Gallant

      Thanks Ryan. I tend to unlike these pages now as well. I’d like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but if I like their page when they run this kind of promotion, it indirectly shows that I support it.

  • Stan Faryna

    Excellent point, Dave.

    The true professional knows the ins and outs, the risks, how to make results happen, the time factor, and all of the various costs (opportunity costs too) of the desired results. Which is why your cousin, in-law, etcetera are typically not your best go to “online expert”. Nor the typical hire.

    That’s why outsourcing your online strategy is often the best and smart course of action.

    Recently on my blog:
    Ain’t I A Woman? And other social media DOHs.

    • Dave Gallant

      Thanks Stan. This is the value that a true professional brings. I’ve seen and heard too many excuses surrounding this topic. I agree with you completely.

      Nice post too. I like how concise you’ve kept it. :)

      • Stan Faryna

        Thanks Dave.

        I remember the last speeding ticket I got stateside. [grin] I was rolling off the highway and just thinking about things (on autopilot) and it wasn’t until I could see (imagine) the smile on the police officer’s face that I checked my speed -100 mph. He was standing in the middle of the road at that point…

        He understood that I was off in la-la land and he wrote me up for 70 – considering I had a perfect driving record for 20 or so years. Let’s just say I was lucky when it comes to that driving record. [grin]

        That ticket cost me a few thousand – I was unaware of the new fines being mostly out of the states for the last 12 years. That sucked big time.

        How do you do la-la-land at 100? It’s all about the car…

        • Dave Gallant

          I’ve absolutely been guilty of speeding as well, just not always caught. But it doesn’t make it right. For some reason, my right foot feels 50lbs heavier than my left. I think that’s why I bought a Hyundai Elantra, so I can’t speed even if I wanted to. 0 to 60 in 6

  • Carrie Louise Brewer

    Great article, and thanks for letting me know that the pages I am a FAN of, are not doing things correctly. I was wondering how facebook was allowing this to happen, and as it turns out, it is just like the speeding analogy, only able until caught. I have a chronic pain support group, a couple fun pages for dog lovers, and an antibullying page. I have never run a contest on any of them, but thanks for reminding me that I should be checking often, the rules of the road, so to speak.

    • Dave Gallant

      My pleasure Carrie. Unfortunately many don’t even think of checking the guidelines, and for small business to do a contest the right way can be more challenging. I do know that Facebook takes notice though, as I know of folks that have lost their page because of it. With so many pages out there, it’s hard to catch everyone.

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  • Samantha Bangayan

    True that! These posts are important reminders because many are still ignorant of the rules. If everyone’s breaking the rules AND no one tells us otherwise, we’re just setting ourselves up for trouble. =P There are a lot of great custom apps for Facebook contests that are easy to implement and DO follow the rules!

    • Dave Gallant

      Thanks for popping by Samantha! Yes folks need to sometimes be reminded or educated on the rules. Honestly, it can be easy to forget, so a reminder never hurt anyone :)

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  • danny

    Thanks Dave I think it was well said and good for everyone to know.

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